I became very depressed around the age of 14, and through emotional eating I quickly piled on a lot of weight. After group therapy and other failed attempts to overcome depression, I joined the school rowing team to try and focus on something else. It worked, and I did come physically fit, but I also gained an additional 15 pounds because the sport made me extremely hungry and I ate more calories than I was burning. I also didn’t know much about nutrition so I was eating things like chocolate, Chinese food, and bagels with cream cheese.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? It affected my self confidence. I would always wear baggy, unflattering clothing to try and cover myself up. Although I wasn’t medically classed as overweight, I was still on the chubby side and I felt fat. I wouldn’t look at people in the eye and talking to boys was out of the question.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? After running 15 miles one afternoon unexpectedly, I realised what my true sport was and decided to stop rowing (which was an extremely hard decision) I changed schools. With a new schedule, a new sport, a no more long rowing practices I had time to focus on something else. I’m very goal orientated and with no rowing I craved a challenge. Losing weight and getting fit seemed like the perfect thing to do. I set myself the goal of running a marathon and losing 30-34 pounds.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? I spent ages researching, there is so much controversy when it comes to fitness and nutrition, it’s important to look and every viewpoint and figure out what works for you. I started running after school and doing fitnessblender workouts. Food wise, I started by upping my protein intake and eating more veggies and less carbs.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? People noticed far before I did. The weight dropped off really fast and it took 2 weeks for my mum to comment, then 4 weeks for my friends and other people to start noticing. As for myself, it took me 4 months (when my mum took a photo of me in a bikini on holiday) for the results to really hit me. I found it hard seeing a difference because I saw myself in the mirror everyday, but when I compared that bikini photo to one I had before, that’s when it really hit me.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? I found it very overwhelming with all the different “diets” out there and controversy over what to eat and how to workout etc… Also I suffered from a knee injury from running and that made it difficult to workout. It was hard during the winter watching my friends sip chocolate and warm brownies whilst I munched on carrot sticks, chicken breast and hard boiled eggs but it was SO worth it in the end.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? I’m very goal orientated so there was never a point where I considered giving up and stopping, but there were plenty of times where I was convinced I couldn’t do it. Thinking about how far I’ve come seemed to do the trick, also Instagram! The amount of support and encouragement I get on there is amazing! There are also lots of helpful and inspirational fitness instagrams that inspired me to keep going.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? I was vegan on and off for two months and I hit a plateau. I realised the vegan diet wasn’tworking for me (I was deficient in iron, calcium and protein!) I went pescetarian downloaded myfitnesspal app and realised I was eating waaay more calories than I thought I was! That completely helped break my plateau. I also switched up my workout routine, your body gets used to it after a while if you don’t change it. I started doing a lot more HIIT and strength training which I wasn’t doing much of before.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? I lost most of the weight in the first 3 months, then I hit a 2 month plateau, overcame the plateau and lost more in them 2 months that followed.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? Yes all my clothes getting extremely loose! I went from a UK size 12 to a UK size 8. My waist size went from 32 to 26. Also seeing some abs for the first time was pretty cool. I noticed I got a lot more attention from boys and men in general (a lot of it unwanted but oh well)
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? Now I eat 5 small meals a day, they are high in protein and satiating. I track macros, whereas before I would shove any sugary carby thing into my mouth and wonder why I was hungry 30 mins later. I have not fully overcome my binging problem but I am a lot better than I was.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I was physically fit when I was heavier because I was in rowing, but now since my fitness is up to me there is a lot more variety. I run mostly (because I love it and I’m trying to run a marathon) but I also do lots of HIIT, strength training and some Pilates. I love working out and choosing my workouts, whereas in rowing my workouts were decided for me and I was forced to do them so I didn’t enjoy it.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Focus on eating more protein and fat and less carbs, they will keep you full for so much longer. Eating less is so much easier and you won’t feel hungry.
- Find and exercise you love, and food you enjoy eating. Willpower will only get you so far, then you’ll think “screw it” and fall off the wagon. The only reason I got so far is because I love running and fitness. It doesn’t have to be that, it could be dance, swimming, Zumba, kickboxing, spinning, Pilates etc… There’s so much to choose from and something for everyone!
- Focus on volume! Bulking up your foods with veggies is great. E.g adding cauliflower rice/shredded zucchini to your oatmeal in the morning. You don’t even taste it and you feel like you’re eating so much more. Soups are also fantastic, the volume and fibre really fills you up and they’re low in calories, not to mention you can find some really delicious, healthy ones. They’re super easy to make too! All you need is a pot and a blender.
- Look at others journeys for tips and inspiration, but don’t compare yourself to them. Everyone’s just is different and a different diet/exercise regime will work for everyone. Try out as many things as possible and focus on your own progress instead of getting discouraged by others.
- Take photos!!! I really regret not doing this. It helps you track your progress and feel good about yourself. Sometimes the scale can be faulty as it doesn’t take into account muscle/water weight. Photos are a more accurate way of measuring progress.